The SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) are the 17 goals and 169 targets established by the United Nations, and agreed on by countries around the world in order to solve the grand challenges and to build a sustainable world.
Agreed in 2015, the target year for these SDGs is 2030. These goals were devised through involvement of not only the public sector but also multiple stakeholders including the private sector. In the process of achieving the SDGs, experts predict four economic ecosystems: food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, and health and well-being to generate business revenues and savings worth at least US$12 trillion a year by 2030*. Businesses and investors aiming for long-term growth see great opportunities in the SDGs. * PwC 2017 Working in an SDG economy Aligning business activity to Global Goals（https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/sustainability/publications/assets/working-in-an-sdg-economy.pdf）
2. The Relevance of the SDGs to TBM
TBM is committed to leveraging our impact on progressing towards the SDGs, especially through our product, LIMEX. We - and many companies like us - are determined to achieve these goals. Centered around Goal 12 ‘Responsible consumption and production’, we identified 8 key goals that we aspire to contribute towards: Goal 6 ‘Clean water and sanitation’, Goal 13 ‘Climate action’, Goal 14 ‘Life below water’, Goal 15 ‘Life on land’, Goal 8 ‘Decent work and economic growth’, Goal 9 ‘Creation of industries’, and Goal 17 ‘Partnerships for the goals’.
In order to determine these 8 focal goals, we focused on two key perspectives to clarify the relationship between our business, specifically our value chain, and the SDGs. They are: (i) the impacts that TBM and its value chain can have on the SDGs and (ii) the impacts that the trends surrounding the SDGs have on TBM and its value chain. As a result of this process, we identified the 8 goals as our focal goals. We also integrated the opinions from the external experts for ensuring its objectivity.
2.2. The 8 focal SDGs and TBM
< The core of LIMEX - SDG 12 >
SDG12 ‘Responsible consumption and production’ Limestone - the main raw material of LIMEX - is highly abundant worldwide. By utilizing this abundant material, we can reduce the use of other precious materials, ultimately contributing to better material efficiency. Furthermore, unlike regular plastic and paper, since limestone does not degrade through heating during recycling processes, the recyclability of limestone can be considered very high. LIMEX is an unique material that encompasses the two components of ‘Reduce’ and ‘Recycle’ from the 3R’s (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle), contributing to a circular economy.
< Contributions to the environment as a paper alternative >
SDG6 ‘Clean water and sanitation’ Limestone exists even in countries and areas with poor water resources. Since trees, which are the raw materials of paper pulp, cannot grow in areas with scarce water conditions, some water scarce countries and areas rely on imports of paper. Additionally, the manufacturing processes of LIMEX only requires little amounts of water, thereby significantly reducing the pressure on water resources. For instance, through the product life cycle, LIMEX can reduce water consumption by 98 % compared to conventional wood pulp paper.
SDG13 ‘Climate action’ LIMEX can reduce the greenhouse gas* emissions from the raw material procuring and manufacturing processes, and thus lowers the negative impacts on climate change. We have implemented the Lifecycle assessment (LCA), a scientific method to assess the environmental impacts from a products’ lifecycle for our material research and development. * Greenhouse gases…the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere including carbon dioxide have an effect that accumulates heat from the surface of the earth in the atmosphere. Since the industrial revolution in the mid-18th century, human activities such as the combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation triggered a drastic rise in the concentration of greenhouse gases. This consequently strengthened the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere and thus became the cause of global warming. https://www.data.jma.go.jp/cpdinfo/chishiki_ondanka/p02.html
SDG15 ‘Life on land’ Because no wood pulp is required to manufacture LIMEX, deforestation can be avoided by using LIMEX. It can reduce the amount of wood used in its lifecycle by 99 % compared to normal paper.
< Contribtions to the natural environment as a plastic alternative >
SDG13 ‘Climate action’ Limestone can reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in its procurement and incineration process compared to normal plastic. Moreover, the ‘Bio LIMEX’ which contains biomass-based resins can further reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the incineration process.
SDG14 ‘Life below water’ By substituting conventional plastic with LIMEX, primarily made of limestone, the amount of petroleum-based resin can be largely reduced. Moreover, we aim to incentivize users of LIMEX to collect the used LIMEX products so that the collected post-use products can be upcycled into another form. Biodegradable LIMEX is also under development in order to provide a price competitive alternative without compromising the functionality and convenience of plastics.
< Contributions to the society through LIMEX >
SDG8 ‘Decent work and economic growth’ Based upon the strong desire of TBM’s CEO Yamasaki to support the areas affected by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, we have established our first plant in Shiroishi (Miyagi Prefecture, Japan). All workers of the Shiroishi plant are local residents, providing over 40 jobs in the town. Our new plant in Tagajo (Miyagi Prefecture, Japan) planned to start its operation in 2020, is also based on the same principles. As LIMEX’s main raw material, limestone, can be sourced worldwide, we can develop a local-source and local-consumption model supply chain and create decent jobs in areas with poor job opportunities.
SDG9 ‘Industry, innovation and infrastructure’ LIMEX production is possible even in non-industrialized areas such as water scarce landlocked regions. For instance, there are no paper industries in Saudi Arabia due to the lack of wood and water. However, TBM aims to create a new industry of products to replace paper, through providing the LIMEX technology to countries which can then use their own locally-sourced limestone for manufacturing. In addition, TBM’s research and development team will continuously pursue further innovations for industrial development.
SDG17 ‘Partnerships’ It goes without saying that TBM is working on this LIMEX business in partnership with various stakeholders. In Japan, TBM has been developing research and production sites thanks to subsidies from governmental bodies such as the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Local governments such as that of Kanagawa Prefecture and Sabae City in Fukui Prefecture have also been our partners for developing upcycling schemes. Internationally, TBM has partnerships with governmental bodies such as the National Industrial Clusters Development Program of Saudi Arabia and with economic organizations such as CSR Europe. We also have intimate partnerships with academia. For example, the lifecycle environmental impact assessments on our products were conducted together with the Oki Laboratory from the University of Tokyo in 2016. International NPOs such as CDP have also been important partners to us.
3. Our Activities
3.1. With local governments and universities
＜Sabae City in Fukui Prefecture & Keio University＞ TBM Co., Ltd., Sabae City in Fukui Prefecture, Japan, and Keio University Graduate School of Media Design made a partnership agreement on developing a local circular model through upcycling LIMEX in Sabae City. Press release (JP) >>